Experiencing International Women's Day | The Washington Center

Experiencing International Women's Day

Last week, people across the globe celebrated International Women's Day, a day for appreciating the social, economic, cultural and political achievements of women while also making a call to action to accelerate gender equality. Since 1909, International Women's Day has been a time to recognize and celebrate strong, powerful women, and this year was no exception - especially in Washington D.C.


Women's Rally

Pictures from the March 8th International Women's Day Rally


The year 2017 has undoubtedly been one of political and social unrest among many groups of people, including women. After millions joined together in solidarity across the world for the Women's March on January 21st (the day after the 2017 Inauguration), the spirit of unity was reignited. Opening with the massive Women's March demonstrations worldwide, this renewed grassroots energy has persevered well into the spring.


On March 8th, the organizers of the Women's March held "A Day Without A Woman" in cities across the world, urging women to stay home from work if at all possible, and to abstain from purchasing products (except from local, women-owned businesses). Women were also called on to wear red for solidarity, and to march alongside their fellow women in local protests. Of course, Washington D.C. had its very own protest.



The first major rally of the day began with a march and ended at Lafayette Park, where hundreds of women gathered to listen to passionate speeches from women demanding equal wages, better healthcare, continued funding for Planned Parenthood, equal rights for trans women, and so much more. Many speeches spoke directly to the President, and called on women to remain engaged and passionate about the issues. Across the crowd was a sea of red, with women and men, young and old, all ethnicities and nationalities, sexual orientations and abilities standing side by side.


After one speaker's encouragement, everyone in the crowd shared a hug with the person next to them. I shared a hug with this sweet woman!


Since my office is just a few blocks away from Lafayette Park, I was fortunate enough to spend a portion of my lunch break participating in the rally. I saw so many friendly faces from all different walks of life. There were hugs, there were words of encouragement. This experience was one of the most empowering of my life. I would've never been able to witness this on my lunch break in Ohio!


I managed to abstain from purchasing anything that day, except for a bag of popcorn I bought from a a woman-owned  and operated food cart across from work called Popped!. I also got a free bottle of wine from a super nice liquor store, just for being a woman. This is one of my favorite holidays for a reason! ;)



As a staunch women's rights advocate, I love what International Women's Day stands for. My life has been shaped by so many strong and influential women, and I wouldn't be where I am today without those women in my life. I also wouldn't be where I am today without the women who marched for my rights over a hundred years ago, which is another reason why I love this day: it's a time to reflect on all the powerful women who paved the way for me and every girl with a dream.


How did you spend International Women's Day? Do you have examples of women who changed your life for the better? #ADayWithoutWomen #InternationalWomensDay

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